The first Fabrikarium with ArianeGroup was held from the 16th to the 18th of October. But what is a Fabrikarium? Following the example of a hackathon, it consists in mixing different skills to respond to the needs of a person with a disability.
After Bordeaux for the world championship of careers for people with disabilities (Abylimpics 2016), Toulouse with a company from the aeronautics industry (Airbus 2016) and Mumbai, India in a maker space (Makers Asylum 2018), we co-organised this new Fabrikarium in the Paris region with the master builders of the European rockets Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 (no less), in Les Mureaux. 30 employees of ArianeGroup and 20 members of My Human Kit were divided into 5 teams, each with documentalists from FlossManuals.
The slogan is simple: let your creativity take off! In orbit during 3 days, working on technical projects, we proved that despite the planets that separate the aerospace sector from a FabLab, we run on the same energy: the desire to help others.
The press release features a presentation of 5 projects. This article, on the other hand, summarises the technical progress made during these 3 days along with some stories.
Let’s start with Gantelet, the multipurpose gloves for people with agenesis, like Solène. Living in Paris, she came to Rennes a few months earlier to discover My Human Kit. Suffering from a repetitive strain injury (RSI) due to overusing her unaffected hand, she is looking for solutions to use her agenesic hand in order to eat, paint and brush her teeth. Three prototypes have already been developed by volunteers. However, as the distance hasn’t allowed for tests and user feedback, we used these three intensive days to precisely analyse her movements and daily gestures. Some novel solutions were tested and approved!
Story: On the first day, when Solène was testing a tool holding solution, she discovered by chance that she can naturally cushion an object there with her thumb.
Jonathan is a long-time member of MHK, taking part in the design of the low pressure sensor. Magic Joystick, the project which involves playing with a console using the buttons on his wheelchair isn’t completely new. In three days, the project took some giant leaps. Jonathan left with a plug and play package which responds to his needs. The team also carried out the equivalent of six months of R&D on the communication protocol of the wheelchair, which opens up a myriad of possibilities for home automation, such as controlling the heating, the blinds or the lights!
Story: There were so many Bluetooth waves in the room that the wireless connections didn’t work. The team asked everyone to turn off Bluetooth on their smartphones in order to be able to communicate with the wheelchair’s joystick, in vain. That evening, thanks to BlueMan (the God of Bluetooth waves), Jonathan could play on the console!
VESPACE (ARIANE ROULE)
ArianeRoule isn’t just a mere tricycle, it’s adapted for the needs of Adamou, a sufferer of polio, allowing him to move more easily. This project is part of the partnership with the La Petite Rennes association and Keolis, allowing us to recycle the motors of written-off bicycles (watch the video). With the right circuit board, manufacturing, adjustment and a little bit of imagination, the project was rebaptised Vespace, combining “Vespa” with “space”. Made available for Adamou, the fresh prince of Brest, who needs a classy vehicle in order to go to nightclubs with his friends but also to make his way around the campus of the University of Western Brittany, where he is the “fabmanager” of their Humanlab.
Story: The night before it was given back, one of the employees repainted Vespace at home in the evening.
Déclic is a mouse that one can use without hands, and is useful for Nicolas, whose right hand was amputated but wants to do computer-aided drawing (CAD). By using a joystick with an integrated switch, it is possible to move the mouse as well as do a click or double click. A long click (between 2 and 3 seconds) opens the Properties window while a click longer than 3 seconds is the equivalent of clicking and holding. This is all customised and calibrated for Nicolas’ needs by adjusting the Arduino code. The team is now working on a wireless solution which uses an accelerometer and a Bluetooth shield, placed on a 3D printed bracelet.
Story: The day when Declic was given back, it was presented using a dramatised comic strip, with each member of the team doing their own voice.
Wi-Canne is a white electronic walking stick equipped with 3 sensors that allow detection of obstacles on the ground, in front of the user or above. The user is warned by a sound or by a vibration. When the stick is turned on, the famous music from Mario Bros plays.
Story: The case made with a laser cutter looks a lot like a microphone. It shouldn’t therefore be confused with the microphone of the TV team which was there on the day and made a documentary about My Human Kit, to be shown during the 13h15 programme on France 2 in the beginning of the year 2020.
It is also worth mentioning the visit of representatives from Agefiph (a French organisation which works to improve work prospects for people with disabilities) and the leader of the SNCF’s Disability and Work Mission, as well as those of Le Parisien and Ouest-France who exclusively reported on this event.
Inaugurated by André-Hubert Roussel, the president of ArianeGroup, the Fabrikarium was closed by Hervé Gilibert, the technical and innovation director, who was delighted to see his teams joyfully take off. After a well-deserved cocktail, the My Human Kit team quickly made its way to Montparnasse station on the Friday night of the strikes! The truck containing materials and the train arrived in Rennes at 10:30pm.
Today, the 21st November, we went back to ArianeGroup in Les Mureaux for the final rendering, like a fine landing after these few days with our heads in the stars.